Sailor Steve back in the 49er class medal hunt

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The British 49er boys turned on the style as two superb race wins propelled them into silver medal position on day five of the Olympic Sailing Regatta (Thursday).

Eastbourne’s Stevie Morrison and his sailing partner Ben Rhodes were in indomitable form as they firstly led from start to finish on the first race – their seventh race of the event – before producing an equally emphatic display in race two to triumph by nine seconds.

Most importantly the teams in the overnight medal positions Australia, New Zealand and France all finished outside the top eight boats in race one, and outside the top five in race two.

These results meant the Brits moved from being in fifth place overall, three points off the medal spots, to the silver medal position with the Australian leading team in their sights.

It was particuarly pleasing for Morrison and Rhodes as they showed tremendous courage to pull themselves back in medal contention having suffered a poor start to the Games.

The first day saw the duo record two 12th place finishes and on the second day they capsized in the second race to leave them in 12th place overall after four races.

Speaking after Thursday’s tremendous session on the water Morrison said, “It was as good as it could have been today.

“We’ve been sailing really well all week and didn’t really do anything different today.

“Our boat speed was up a notch from yesterday compared to the fleet. We kept our heads in some very big gusts and did a fantastic job.

“We are always confident in these conditions and managed to do it when it counts.

“It’s a confidence boast but we were confident even after the bad day. We’ve sailed the 49er a long time, we know we’re good in Weymouth and you don’t want to get too excited when you do well or too down when you do badly, it’s very boring unfortunately but it’s the reality of what we need to be like until next Wednesday.”

Today (Friday) is set to be a big day for the 49er class, with three races scheduled.

In total they have seven races remaining with their medal race scheduled for next Wednesday (August 8) at 1pm.

Morrison added, “We are still only halfway through the regatta and the Australians deserve the title of event favourites.

“They have had a bit of a wobbly day but we know they will be back tomorrow and we know we could have another a wobbly day.

“We’re going to have wobbles; everyone’s going to have wobbles. It’s kind of the case of trying to hang around a bit like a bad smell and annoy people enough that they make some mistakes.

“We need to get focused and back in on the game.”

Rhodes said, “It’s all going in the right direction. We couldn’t be happier to be honest, days like today don’t happen very often and it’s pretty nice to be on the right side of it.

“We feel like we are doing the same thing that we did at the beginning of the regatta but things just seem to be falling into place a little better.”

Racing is scheduled to resume at 1.30pm tomorrow (Friday 3 August) on the spectator course.

The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs until Saturday August 11.